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Holladay Journal

Wasatch Jr. High student volunteers to improve local playground

Nov 09, 2021 10:38AM ● By Heather Lawrence

Daniella Salguero and her dad played basketball at Mill Creek Elementary nearly every day, and noticed the painted U.S. map was “looking sad”. (GSD)

By Heather Lawrence | [email protected]

Many schools in Utah have large painted maps of the U.S. or Utah’s counties on their playgrounds. This past summer, Daniella Salguero was playing basketball with her dad at Mill Creek Elementary when she noticed that the maps there were looking worn and faded. Daniella, a sixth grader at Wasatch Jr. High, volunteered to repaint them. 

“Daniella has asthma so during the pandemic she’s been learning from home. Every day when her dad gets home, they get outside and go play basketball or something else at Mill Creek Elementary, which is close to where we live.  

“After going there almost every day, she said the maps looked ‘sad,’ and heard the principal wanted to repaint them,” said Daniella’s mother Diana Salguero. 

Daniella volunteered to take on the project. She enlisted the help of her family, including her mom, dad Erwin Salguero, and older sister and recent Olympus graduate Lucia Rodriguez. The project took three days, and the family worked through the summer heat and a rainstorm to get it done. 

Having volunteers to repaint the maps was great news for Mill Creek principal Amber Clayton. 

“As the new principal at Mill Creek, repainting the old and faded maps was on my wish list. [Daniella’s] mother reached out to me and asked if their family could tackle the project together as a ‘welcome back’ gift for the Mill Creek students.  

“If you’ve seen the before and after pictures, you know they did a great job. I have been so impressed by Daniella and her family,” Clayton said. 

Daniella’s dad works in the painting industry and has connections with Sherwin-Williams. When he mentioned to an industry representative what his family was doing, they offered to donate paint for the project. 


They started on a Friday morning and worked from nearly sun up until sun down all weekend long. They needed to prep the surface by power washing it to remove all the dirt and old paint flecks. Then, of course, it rained. 

“We got soaked, but we had so much fun,” Diana said. 

Next they worked on the borders and filled in the states. The next thing they knew it was Saturday at 9 p.m., but they still weren’t done. 

“It was a lot of work. We came back on Sunday because we wanted to get the whole thing done that weekend,” Diana said. 

They chose bright, eye-catching colors, and at 10:30 p.m. on Sunday it was finished: two vibrant, large maps. Clayton loves the improvements to the playground. 

“I’m so impressed by Daniella. It feels symbolic that her act of service was repainting a map of Utah and a map of the United States. I think we would all agree that we need more people who see a problem and then choose to act to make things better,” Clayton said. 

Daniella’s principal John Anderson at Wasatch Jr. High said that her service is a great example to other students. 

“It’s awesome to see a junior high-aged student step outside of themselves and serve and help others. Daniella Salguero is a great student and asset to Wasatch Jr. High. We’re so happy to have her as a part of our school,” Anderson said.